Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Two Snowflakes

Ever since I was a little girl, I have heard that there are no two snowflakes that are alike. And ever since I have heard that, I have thought to myself, "How the heck do you know that?" I will readily admit that I am no expert on the cold wet stuff, but how do we know that there are no two snowflakes that are alike. Do we do this through math, showing that the crystallizing of water is such that there are so many different permutations that it is nearly impossible to have two water droplets that end up with the same crystalline structure.

I have not seen science labs where scientists are looking at crystalline structures, documenting them and comparing them to known crystalline structures. Can you imagine a scientist saying, "Yes, I look at snow structures, comparing them to ensure that no two are alike. I have a super-computer what spends its days comparing known structures, and four graduate students continue to collect data each winter."

That being said, you know that on occasion, two highly unlikely events may occur. In fact, they do occur with regularity. Look at Rutgers for instance. How many people would think they would have been undefeated at the beginning of the year? Highly improbable but possible.

I really think that people may be like snowflakes. We all are so different, but I wonder if there is someone just like me somewhere. Highly improbably but possible. Someone who has gone through what I have gone through, and reacted the same way. Someone who loves flannel pajamas, who has molded her husband in such a way that she catches him saying, "tinkle" and "PJs." Someone who looks into the sky and wonders who else is stealing a glance at the same constellations.

I have read a bit about other dimensions, string theory and such. Mostly I like to have the concepts drift over my head, me being dazzled by the words. Sort of like poetry that you don't understand. You can think the words are wonderful but not have any idea of what they mean.

I know we all want to be special – feel special. But I think it would be really neat to have a friend who knew everything you knew, looked like you looked, felt how you felt, loved all of the movies you have loved. You could braid her hair, she could braid yours, paint her toenails, have her paint yours, just chill with your identical snowflake.

Hmmmmmmmmmm. Perhaps I am a bit flakey. Where the heck is my medication?


LarryLilly said...

Leesa, that would be like looking at a mirror, you looking at you, how long would that last? Given that scene, this identical snowflake and you would spend hours trying to find the ONE thing that makes you two different. No, that would be boring. Rather, sit on the plane with someone not your race, sex, national origin, and try to find the ONE thing in common. That would be better, more refreshing I would think.

Lately your blogs have the view of someone who either needs their medications tweaked, or else your mind is going through spring cleaning in the middle of fall. This summer must have used all your resources, your batteries are drained, you’re like the space orbiter Voyager, so far from your world, not sure that your home is really listening to your rants, batteries running low, lights flickering, wires frayed from over use.

Maybe its time to streak around the house outside, naked, yelling; OK, you can do it 3am, no one will see you, but the cleansing will be cathartic. Get outside your comfort level girl, meet your hubby at some motel, on the other side of town, in the daytime, for no more than an hour, for a lunch time fling, make sure you each arrive in separate vehicles, make sure its rushed. Or else just say F’ it, and go back to bed. This too shall soon pass.

Have a sweet day

Prata said...

The theory of no two snow flakes being the same is actually false. It is very unlikely that you will find them, but water tends to crystalize in a similar way. Crystalline structures can be extrapolated, which means there is "structure" to the way they form. If that is the case, then it is a fallacy to presume that snow flakes are _all_ unique. Or you can put it the way I put it...

We are all unique and beautiful snow flakes, every last one of us.

Leesa said...

I like this post, Leesa. I sometimes wish I had a friend that was a bit more like me. Maybe she'd walked in my shoes. Maybe knew my odd quirks, but she had them too.
Realistic? Maybe not.. but nice to think about.

Tony said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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GW Mush said...


I believe in the bikini string theory:)

MyUtopia said...

That is actually a great question!

~Deb said...

You know, I met my other twin. They say that everyone has an identical twin out there. I never believed it, until I started working after school at this dumpy warehouse pick/packing. There she was..."ME". Everyone told me about her. She has the same name, same hair, same body and everything. We just looked over at one another in shock. I totally believe that there are two snowflakes that are alike....somewhere out there.

Very thought provoking. And, I agree with Larry---the 3am deal. Do it. I'll be watching!

mal said...

I heard some one say once "the universe will be dead when P=1 and Q=0. After shaking my head for awhile I wrote it off to the professor dropping too much acid at I am not so sure

BTW, his name was Alvarez


aidin said...


QUASAR9 said...

Can you imagine a scientist saying, "Yes, I look at snow structures, comparing them to ensure that no two are alike. I have a super-computer what spends its days comparing known structures, and four graduate students continue to collect data each winter."

We give scientists PhD to find

gay insects and gay animals
paedophile insects & animals
rapist insects and animals

And we pay then to record in minute detail what they do

If more than one insect is gay, they say a pattern is emerging
Amd patterns can be replicated.

Alas as uniques as a 'snowdrop'
makes you wonder, does it not

Leesa said...

larry: perhaps I do need to adjust my meds!

prata: I thought water tended to crystalize by building upon itself. There are many ways for the next crystal to build upon itself. Lets say that there are 6 ways to build the next crystaline structure. For 24 microcrystals to form, there would be a one in 4.73838E+18 chance of finding two similar crystals.

leesa: thanks!

gw mush: I think the string bikini theory makes men's brains explode.

myutopia: thanks!

~deb: I have met my physical "twin", but it is sort of too weird to share.

mal: let's hope P and Q don't do that soon.

aidin: comment answer

quasar: Scientists earn PhD's to study . . . .

QUASAR9 said...

Leesa -
we give PhDs for original research
I presume you mean scientists earn PhDs by study,so that with their PhD they can get paid to count and observe more snowflakes -

if your funding is cut when you find two snowflakes the same...
is it any wonder scientists say

Prata said...

Missed your comment on crystalline structures. I'll just go over snowflakes in particular.

Though crystalline structures within water do build upon are discounting how snow flakes are formed. ALL snowflakes have a similar structure.

That means all snow flakes have six arms on three axes and they are both (the axes and arms) symmetric. Any variant of this is not a snow flake. Because of this, we know that the crystalline structure can be extrapolated, because every single axis and every arm is symmetric to the rest of the crystalline water structure of the snow flake.

Does that make sense now? Snow flakes are created in a relatively similar environment with regards to the spanning of the flake itself, and water tends to behave the same way in a similar environment (which explains the symmetrical property of snow flakes).

Knowing this, it should be possible to create two identical snow flakes with proper environments. However, because the formation of snow flakes is a process that involves rapidly changing conditions, it would be difficult to accomplish in the wild. On the other hand, if two elements of water are in close proximity, (the rate at which snow flakes form is staggeringly high which makes this a more likely event than you think) it is possible (to what degree I do not have the math to extrapolate) that the brittle structures would form to be identical.

The length of time they remain identical would be minute. Snow is not strong and upon accumulation, the structure would be modified and or destroyed.

QUASAR9 said...


QUASAR9 said...

Hi Leesa,
it is to differentiate the supernova Cassiopeia "A",
from the Constellation of the same name:
Hubblesite fast facts

Monica said...

I think I may fall in love with Prata...he makes my eyes glaze over in a very nice way.
This also explains why the coffee filter snowflakes I make with the kids look better when they're folded in half then thirds (rather than half and half and -sometimes- half again)before we cut them.